Anyone who has enjoyed fine cuisine during your visits to Beso Del Sol Resort may have been sad to see one of Dunedin’s favorites close for good.
When Italian Bistro Pensare shut its doors, heads may have lowered in disappointment. But when one door closes, a sushi bar opens!
Reviewer Jon Palmer Claridge from Creative Loafing Tampa Bay was equally excited to see what would take Pensare’s place. Below are some highlights from his dinner experience at Pisces, the new fish in town.
When the lovely Italian bistro and wine bar, Pensare sadly shuttered, I watched with anticipation to see what the next chapter would be for this prime intersection in delightful downtown Dunedin. When I learned the new tenant would be Clearwater transplant Pisces Sushi & Global Bistro, I thought, “ho-hum.” Boy, was I wrong.
This trip begins with crab bisque.
Pisces’ crab bisque is intense and full-flavored. Creamed sherry is present in the stock, but it’s subtle and doesn’t mask the snow crab, allowing the crustacean to sing. There’s also a full mouthfeel without relying on large amounts of heavy cream. The soup is dark and layered with a textural garnish of croutons and scallions.
The tuna tataki starter beautifully layers poppy seed-crusted slices of deep red, luscious fish. There are some crisp cucumbers, bits of scallions, and tiny, bright orange masago (the minuscule capelin roe that’s popular in sushi). It’s all lightly dressed in a balanced sesame and ponzu glaze that provides just enough light acidity to perfectly complement the tuna. This kind of care makes a difference. Ingredients you’ve seen many times before are elevated.
Better is a signature dish of chef James Keene’s tapas menu called Jamaican Me Crazy. It’s an absolutely exquisite dish that showcases plump, juicy shrimp with spicy Caribbean jerk seasoning and a winning combo of pineapple salsa, sweet plantains, fresh coconut aioli and a sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes. Again, the piña colada flavor mashup is familiar, but it rarely tastes this good.
Deciding among the many sushi rolls is tough. We can’t resist something called Dunedin’s Dream. There’s a lot of delicious going on. It starts with panko-crusted grouper and cream cheese, as well as avocado topped with spicy tuna. Then, some tangy garlic aioli balanced with sweet chili, the crunch of wonton crisps, the bite of scallions, and the jewel-like sheen of the sparkling masago. Bold and beautiful and yum-yum-yummy.
I’m off my soapbox and ready for a sweet finish. Luckily, Pisces’ creme brûlée flight is a lesson in flavor and texture. Each of the four little cups is finished with a perfectly torched crunchy sugar crust. It’s evenly spread out across the whole surface for maximum crunch. The flavors are intensely concentrated, with green tea on the mild end and espresso almost as punchy as a double shot. The tangy ginger and woody vanilla are full-flavored and delicious. This whole quartet is creme brûlée master class.
Even if you’re just sushi-curious, Pisces is not to be missed. There’s live music Friday, Saturday or Sunday on the patio, plus the largest selection of Hitachino Nest Beer, imported from Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery.
Well, we’re sold! If you’re a fan of great seafood and sushi, be sure to check out Pisces on your next visit to Beso Del Sol Resort.
Do you have a favorite spot for fish in Dunedin? Give us your restaurant recommendations in the comments below.